Three were given six- month sentences at Clonakilty District Court for their part in the incident just over a year ago, in which Judge James McNulty said they had laid into another woman on the street in Kinsale, Co Cork.
At their trial a week earlier, he convicted Denise McCarthy, aged 32, a mother of two from Cluain an Óir, Belgooly, and her sister Sarah McCarthy, aged 28, a mother of one from Rosehill, Kinsale. They had been accused of assault causing harm to Paula Canty in the early hours of Jun 4, 2012.
Chloe Walsh, aged 22, a mother of one from Knockbrogan, Bandon, was convicted of the same charge at last week’s trial in Kinsale District Court. Her sister Natasha, aged 20, of the same address, had changed her plea to guilty of assault causing harm at an earlier hearing, after CCTV footage of the attack was shown in court.
Judge McNulty said each of the women had played different parts in the incident, but their involvement was similar. He heard from solicitors Daithí Ó Donnabháin, on behalf of the McCarthy sisters and Chloe Walsh, and Eamonn Fleming for Natasha Walsh, that the eight days they spent in Limerick Prison since their convictions had been traumatic for them and their families.
But referring to the fact that they had failed to heed warnings after previous convictions, he said the most appropriate thing was to impose custodial sentences in light of the gravity of the case.
He gave Denise and Sarah McCarthy and Chloe Walsh sentences of six months each on the assault causing harm conviction, and a four-month term to Natasha Walsh. For the public order offence of threatening or abusive behaviour during the same incident, they were each placed under the supervision of the probation and welfare services for a year.
He granted all four women leave to appeal the jail sentences, and they were released on bail on their own bonds of €100 each, pending those appeals being heard. Judge McNulty advised them that a Circuit Court judge could also increase or vary the sentence.
After seeing video evidence of the four-minute incident outside the Armada Bar, the judge previously compared it to a wild west movie.
“She is one of four women who set upon another and gave her a severe kicking and beating that night in Kinsale,” Judge McNulty said of Denise McCarthy.
She had a previous conviction for assault for which she was put under probation service supervision for three years in July 2011, and for which the judge said she would have been warned about re-offending.
Sarah McCarthy accepted that she was similarly warned, having been convicted of a public order offence in May 2011 and an assault charge in December that year.
Chloe Walsh was given probation for public order offences in 2009, and was previously fined for drugs possession. Her solicitor said she is about to begin treatment for alcohol problems. Natasha Walsh’s change of plea was noted by the judge, who said it entitled her to some discount on her sentence. But he also sentenced her to two months’ imprisonment, to be served in addition to the assault sentence, for theft charges arising from alcohol being taken from Bandon supermarkets on two dates last month.